The exorcism began in the home of Robbie's relatives in St. Louis. After he went to bed, the priests began the ritual. He went into a trance. The bed shook. Welts and scratches appeared on his body. Over the next two hours, Robbie was branded and scratched over 30 times on various places of his body. Words such as "Spite" and "Hell" appeared often on the boy during the ritual. Robbie cursed and screamed in different tones from bass to falsetto. The ritual ended at dawn but they were far from being finished.
The ordeal continued for weeks. As time went on, the boy's responses became more violent. He spoke in Latin and different voices. He spit and vomited on the priest sometimes from great distances and with great accuracy. He slapped and punched the priests and witnesses. It is said that he belched and urinated constantly. It's also said that he taunted the priests with information about themselves that he couldn't possibly know. Though each morning, Robbie seemed quite normal with no memory of the nights events.
They continued reciting prayers each day though it seemed pretty useless. The next step was to ask for permission to instruct Robbie in the Catholic faith. They felt the conversion would help strengthen their fight. His parents consented to the conversion. He was transported to the rectory during the time of instruction. He was quiet and excited about learning the Catholic faith, but at his communion, he had to dragged into the church. The priests had never seen him that they remembered, in such a rage before.
On the night of April 18th, Father Bowdern put a chain of religious medals on him and a crucifix in his hand. After coming to an impasse, they had to go in a new direction. At first, Robbie was calm and asked questions about the Catholic faith but when Father Bowdern wouldn't comply, he went into a rage. Witnesses held him down as he continued to scream out "fallen angel." Bowdern continued with the ritual until Robbie identified in a deep male voice that he was "St. Michael the Archangel" ordering the demon to depart. Robbie went into contortions and spasms. Then fell quiet. He sat up and said "he's gone" in a normal voice. Then proceeded to tell Father Bowdern about a vision of "St. Michael." The exorcism was over.
Twelve days later, Robbie left St. Louis with his parents and returned to Maryland. In May of 1949, he wrote Bowdern telling him how happy he was and about his new dog. He only has dim recollections of what happened. Last reports suggest that he may still live in Maryland, a devoted Catholic and family man.
Since then, most of the buildings directly involved in the exorcism are now gone. The hospital room that Robbie occupied during the ordeal was sealed off. Later on the whole section in the hospital was closed. Many hospital workers believed something lingered behind after the exorcism. Some say the lights never would stay on and the heat didn't work properly. Sometimes foul odors would drift from beneath the room. In 1978, the wing was razed with difficulty. When the floor was taken off, members of the demolition crew claim they had difficulty controlling the wrecking ball. They also broke into the "exorcism room" when they were removing furniture that could be resold. They found it to be untouched since being sealed in 1949. A copy of the exorcism diary was found in the desk. But the strangest thing was that some crew members claim to have seen something emerge from the room moments before the wrecking ball destroyed it. They dismissed it as only being a cat or a big rat.
The case remains unsolved.
More info: http://www.prairieghosts.com/exorcist.html or see the TLC special Exorcists: The True Story
*Taylor, Troy (2002). The St. Louis Exorcism Case: The Story that became The Exorcist! Retrieved on September 4, 2005 from the Prairie Ghost website: http://www.prairieghosts.com.